Lunch with Romney 'worth every thousand dollar,' attendee says
Louisiana Republicans who shelled out $50,000 to have lunch with presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney were not disappointed as they left the downtown City Club this afternoon shortly after 1 p.m.
"It was worth every thousand dollar," says Cajun Industries founder Lane Grigsby, one of the 40 who attended the two-hour luncheon with Romney and Gov. Bobby Jindal. "I have been so dejected by where our nation is headed. He gave us hope, and I believe we have a chance of taking our nation back."
Grigsby and his wife, Bobbi, were among just a handful of Baton Rouge area Republicans at the event, which also included Eddie Rispone, CEO of Industrial Specialty Contractors and his wife, Linda; Kevin Couhig, CEO of Source Capital; and Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.
Other notable GOP donors in attendance included Saints owner Rita Benson Leblanc, PHI CEO Al Gonsoulin, New Orleans banker Joseph Canizaro, and Bollinger Shipyards CEO Donald "Boysie" Bollinger, who helped organize the event. It raised $2 million for the Romney campaign.
Republicans came from around the state for the lunch and gathered at the City Club before 11 a.m. Local police closed the surrounding block and kept media far from the entrance to the club, as well as a group of about three dozen protesters from the liberal group MoveOn.org, who waved anti-Romney banners and signs.
According to those who attended the lunch of shrimp cocktail, red snapper, filet mignon and white bread pudding, Romney spoke for about 25 minutes after an introduction by Jindal, then took questions for another 25 minutes. His speech focused on the economy, job creation and education, according to Rispone.
"But it was mostly about the economy," Rispone says. "He understands you cannot demonize success and hard work. He understands that is what makes America great. That is what motivates people."
Romney's senior aide Eric Fehrnstrom says Romney hasn't settled on anyone for a running mate but could make a final decision in the coming days. Jindal is widely thought to be on Romney's short list of potential running mates.
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